Heritage Plants for the HPS Diamond Jubilee

Written by Chris Davies. Posted in News

2016-10-13 12.36.47 copyGrowing Norfolk and Suffolk Heritage Plants for the HPS Diamond Jubilee

When we host the national HPS Annual Lecture Day and AGM on March 25th 2017, Norfolk and Suffolk Group will be manning our own Heritage Plant stall to highlight the local connection with the Society's inception, and to raise funds for the Group.

We will be selling plants which originated in Norfolk and Suffolk, many of which will be plants named by Alan Bloom, who was a Founder member of the HPS, - one reason why we were asked to host the event. Many of the plants have been generously donated by Jaime Blake, Alan's son-in-law.

The plants have been mainly researched and gathered by Andrew Lawes and Colin Pusey, and grown on by them, Linda Hall, Sarah Rix, Brenda Reed, and me.

They are now being cared for through the Winter by John Metcalf, who will call upon us to pot them on or divide them, as  , (or do it himself!)

The varieties we have are: Erigeron 'Felicity', Aconitum lycoctonum 'Ivorine', Campanula 'Pouffe', Tradescantia 'Isis' Geranium cantabrigensis 'Cambridge', Geranium sylvaticum 'Mayflower', Tanacetum 'Bressingham Red', Aster 'Royal Velvet', Anemone 'Bressingham Glow', Geranium oxonianum 'Irene Hatwell', Iris 'Benton Varieties', all subject to the usual provisos!

If you have spares of any of these, or other varieties that you know to be correct and from our two Counties, which you would be willing to donate, we would be delighted to receive them, (contact Andrew, Colin, Chris or Linda).

We will have special souvenir labels relating the plants to Norfolk and Suffolk and the Diamond Jubilee of the HPS, with a picture, (which could be helpful in March). We hope to produce enough plants to offer a choice to the 150 national members we are aiming to encourage to attend, and to raise funds for the Group. We hope many of our own Group members will come and enjoy the day with us.

Chris Davies

Indoor Meeting: Talk on Pelargoniums by Ken Abel

Written by Ann McCord. Posted in News

8th October 2016

When I first agreed to undertake the write up for this meeting, the original speaker from Thompson and Morgan was scheduled; then the Chairman’s email arrived with details of the change of speaker and my heart sank into my muddy gardening shoes.  Our new speaker was Ken Abel, an expert on Pelargoniums who has been described as “the UK’s best grower of show Pelargoniums”.  Why my reaction?  My problem is that I dislike Pelargoniums; I regard the modern hybrids as garish and ugly and some of them even have a horrible smell.  They are grown by the million in in vast greenhouses; take over garden centres early in the spring to be planted with high expectations and thrown out at the end of the season.  They are typical of the horrors of modern factory horticulture with its by-products of pollution and waste.

However, a promise is a promise, so I turned up to the meeting with my notebook and pen at the ready and prepared to be converted.  Mr Abel gave us a comprehensive account of his methods of growing pelargoniums for showing.  He starts his cuttings in coir compost, which he buys in blocks, mixed with more conventional composts and raises the small plants in 2 inch pots.  Cuttings are taken all year around as bottom heat is available.  He deliberately restricts the root growth of the plant to increase the top growth to maximise the impact of the show plants.

Mr Abel advised on composts used as the plants approach show size as well as the treatment of any problems.  Feeding was highly specialised to correct any deficiencies and liquid seaweed was used as a stimulant to bring the plants to their best before a show.  Most plants are discarded after 4 – 5 years as they become too woody.  We were shown a large selection of his prize winning plants which were grown and manicured as show performers.  They can be grown as fans, as standards or balls and also be trained as bonsai plants which were both intriguing and attractive.  He said that his favourite show was the Yorkshire Pelargonium Show where his plants have carried off every available prize.

I did not change my mind about Pelargoniums but I can admire Mr Abel’s dedication and passion for his plants.  He spares no effort in the raising and showing and the results are plants that reach the highest standards of perfection.  For those of you who enjoy growing Pelargoniums (and long may you continue to do so), I would recommend Mr Abel’s Website – www.prize-pelargoniums.com which is a mine of information on all aspects growing and showing Pelargoniums.

Anne McCord

Garden Visit: "The Harralds", Grove Rd , Gissing

Written by Judy Sims. Posted in Events Past

3rd September 2016

Janet Sleep welcomed us to her garden which it is always a treat to visit. It is some time since the Society visited and possibly not at this time of year so we were looking forward to the afternoon. With spots of rain in the air we had come prepared and set off to explore. The first glimpse of the sundial garden was of a carpet of autumn crocuses beneath  a Cornus alternifolia argentea .

Under Deodar tree revealed primulas in flower including Jack-in-the-Green, benefitting gratefully from the shade as were the cyclamen. 

We admired the red flowers of Campsis Madame Galen flowering on the end gable. On the nearby wall one of Janet’s cats was posing as the Cheshire cat, almost hidden by the pale yellow flowered Cestum parqui below .

There are a wide variety of fuchsias flowering throughout the garden large and small flowered and with a variety of leaf sizes, several interesting Agapanthus and a vivid collection of dahlias in the cutting garden.

Janet was thanked for letting us enjoy her garden and she informed us we had made a welcome contribution to Gissing church funds, a worthy cause and another highlight of the village.

Judy Sims

Summer Social: The Oaks, Brick Kiln Lane, Suffield

Written by Chris Davies. Posted in Events Past

20th August 2016

This year the event was held in Suffield, near North Walsham on 20th August. Because of concerns about the weather we had taken up our contingency plan of serving lunch in the very pretty little village hall, next to the field where we were parking the cars.

Members were greeted with a cup of tea or coffee, with time to exchange news with friends and acquaintances before sitting down for lunch, either in the gazebo or inside the hall. The weather was breezy but bright all day, except for one little flurry of rain just at the end.

Lunch had been provided by the committee. The highlights were Sue Thurman's wonderful raised pies and Andrew and Cathy Lawes' wonderful confection of chocolate and cream and black cherries. These had a supporting cast of quiches, ham, cheese, salads and pickles and bread rolls, followed by meringues with cream, cheese cakes, mousse and yet more cream. There was also a choice of the usual pale yellow, or the rarer pink elderflower cordial.

Members then walked round to Helen and Peter Burtenshaw's garden, ( or were driven by car, where required) where Len was selling raffle tickets and Colin was selling plants as fund-raisers.

Helen's garden absorbed members' interest as they examined rarities and novelties in the gravel garden, borders, pond and in the ferny shade. Their gasps were rewarded with a soft drink. A quiz had been arranged to see how many plants members could identify, or guess, listed alphabetically. These were marked on their return to the village hall for a last cup of tea or coffee. The plant nobody knew was Dietes bicolor, a not-very-hardy bulb!

A number of members made a point of thanking us for the day, and others wrote emails afterwards.

We were immensely lucky with the weather, and the arrangements were a good team effort, headed by Sarah and Barbra, new committee members this year. Well done to both of them.

Chris Davies

Coach Trip: Hyde Hall, Essex

Written by Chris Davies. Posted in Events Past

6th August 2016

With a couple more members than last year attending, the coach set off from Notcutts with our new driver, Steve, to Diss to pick up the remainder of our party. Those of us at the front of the coach, including Steve, were not quite sure where Diss bus station was, so we were looking out for members as we drove through. Suddenly we spotted someone who resembled Graham, so Steve pulled in and opened the door. The man got on, and he was a total stranger, but, fortunately, he wanted to go to the bus station, so we took him, in return for him telling us where to stop. The others were bemused by our arrival and an unknown man getting off the bus, but they all climbed aboard and settled for a very easy journey to Hyde Hall.

The weather was very warm indeed, and much better spent here than gardening. There were plenty of stalls selling interesting plants, enhanced by display squares in front of many of the stalls. I especially liked an arrangement that included a silvery purple Astelia 'Westland' and some very deep pink trumpet lilies. I bought a small Astelia and will buy some lily bulbs, and hope to live long enough to see a display as nice as theirs, in my own garden. There were also a number of stalls selling garden knick-knacks, as well as sundries and tools, and a semi- circle of food stalls, with an unusual array from hog-roast in a roll to Mediterranean street food. Having arrived around 11.00am and then leaving at 4.00pm, my friends and I found we had spent the whole day at the fair, so we are going to make another date to visit the garden.

Many thanks to Graham Boutell for organising a great day out.

Chris Davies